Following the dramatic success of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix earlier this month, and ahead of the highly anticipated opening of the Yas Island beach and Yas Waterworld, Breaking Travel News sits down with Thierry Perrot, Area General Manager of the Crowne Plaza and Staybridge Suites Abu Dhabi Yas Island, one of Yas Island’s most innovative and inspirational hotels.
BTN: How is business at the Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi Yas Island?
TP: Business at Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi Yas Island is going very well and getting better every year. We are currently in the middle of one of our busiest times of the year, we’ve just had the F1 and there is plenty of activity throughout Abu Dhabi to keep us busy over the coming months.
BTN: How are occupancy levels compared to 2011?
TP: Occupancy levels are as we had forecast, up by approximately 10% on 2011
BTN: What have been the key highlights at the property in 2012?
TP: There have been many, but to single out a few, there is:
1) The many awards our hotel scooped this year:
2) Madonna’s live performance at the Yas Arena in June of this year
3) And of course, the annual F1 Abu Dhabi race at the Yas Marina Circuit that took place earlier this month which proved to be one of the most unexpected and exciting races of the year!
BTN: What impact did the F1 Grand Prix have on the property and destination?
TP: Every year the F1 race has a very positive impact on all stakeholders. We look forward to high levels of both room and F&B revenue from both hotels and the F1 is a key factor in showcasing Yas Island and in turn Abu Dhabi ensuring that it is kept on the forefront of peoples’ minds internationally.
BTN: What are the latest developments that have been rolled out at the property?
TP: We haven’t had any refurbishments yet as we are only 3 years old! However our Health Club has introduced new massage treatments recently and it’s proving to be a very successful addition to our guest offerings. We have also enhanced some of our F&B outlets this year – such as opening a shisha garden in our pool gardens which is very popular this time of year and increasing the size of our outdoor terrace in Stills – our popular bar and award winning nightspot. We are also currently in the first stages of rolling out the repositioning of the Crowne Plaza brand so there will be quite a changes throughout our hotel which we are very excited about – watch this space!
BTN: What are your key priorities going forwards?
TP: We are looking forward to the opening of the latest additions to Yas Island in Q4 of this year, which are the Yas Island beach and the much anticipated Yas Waterworld, which will both have a huge impact on our hotels and Yas Island as a leisure destination.
BTN: Which new markets are you hoping to tap into in coming months?
TP: We are hoping to welcome more leisure and MICE guests from China, Russia and India to our hotels over the next couple of years.
BTN: What do you see as being the main challenges ahead?
TP: We have seen a massive increase in the number of new rooms and new players in Abu Dhabi over the last 12 months and there are still more to come which could be seen as a challenge. However, I believe there is enough business to go around as Abu Dhabi is attracting more visitors than ever before and for us, being located on the exciting Yas Island along with Yas Links Golf Course (ranked #24 in the World’s Best Courses Outside of America), the only Ferrari World Theme Park in the world, the F1 Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Marina, the Du Forum - which has seen some of the world’s biggest names perform here over the last two year. Also, shortly we will have one of the leading waterparks in the world opening right on our doorstep and a world class mall coming in a couple of year’s time.
BTN: In what ways are you tapping into social media?
TP: We are very active with social media in that we place a lot of importance on Tripadvisor by ensuring each and every guest review is responded to, we have almost 2,500 fans on our Facebook page which we use to actively engage with our guests, and we are tweeting on a daily basis.